Korey Dane with Special Guest Zella Day

Korey Dane with Special Guest Zella Day

Calvin Love

Tue · November 21, 2017

8:00 pm

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This event is 21 and over

Korey Dane
Korey Dane
Korey Dane grew up in Long Beach, California, as a skateboarder kid with a gearhead father and an English teacher mother and with a guitar he learned to love as he learned to play, letting a few inherited books and a handful of records lead him away from home and into the great American unknown. That's where he found his last album Youngblood, born from months exploring and hitchhiking and putting songs together piece by piece, then presented as promise and potential to veteran producer and A&R man Tony Berg (X, Public Image Ltd.). He set up in Berg's Zeitgeist Studios and with a crew of top-notch sessioneers -- just like they used to do with the Wrecking Crew during L.A.'s golden age -- he hammered Youngblood into something real, releasing it with Innovative Leisure in the fall of 2015.

Then smash-cut to September of 2016, with Dane coming off tour, a relationship about to crack in a half, and his 27th birthday about to hit, just like he'd predicted -- unwittingly -- in his song "Hard Times." (The day before he started recording, he'd had a fortune teller tell him hard times were coming, but that was a waste of money -- he already knew that.) He was left standing at the leading edge of his new album with ... well, nothing ...but his songs and a beautiful room where he could record them. Oh, and 96 hours to get it all done.

So he got it done: he tapped a few close friends to back him and cut Chamber Girls almost completely live, searing instinct and experience direct to tape at L.A.'s analog time capsule Valentine Recording Studios. He produced everything himself, too, except for a quick assist from Berg on one a song, inspired by the deceptively simple ethos he'd internalized while making Youngblood: pursue greatness. "Writing a song that you know someone might skip over later is sacrilege," he says. Instead, he wanted every song on Chamber Girls to feel not only live but alive, too, with that go-for-broke spirit that animates everything he says, does, or sings: "I'm writing all the time," he says. "I've lived by a line a day sometimes. I try and stop when it's good. If you try and simplify it down to its bare elements ... it's truly a redemptive act."

That's why he calls Chamber Girls -- despite those hard times, or because of them -- a celebration. "It's a rock 'n' roll record," he says. It's got a lot in it, and "it talks about important shit," he adds. And it does -- it's poetry at velocity, a trick that goes all the way back to Dylan and the Hawks. Opener "Half Asleep" is a Westerberg-style wake-up call ("Five, four, three, two, one, gone / I'm a cloud of smoke") and from there it's an album made from ash and fire, with a burner like "Hard Times" (and its swaggering Big Star guitar) only steps away from the smoky but stark "Always." "Down In The Hole" is like Tom Waits back alley cabaret by Leonard Cohen's deathless ladies' man. Closer "Steady Forever" is a streak of light like the hungry young Springsteen, with lyrics hiding literature and a line that catches the spirit of the whole album: "Such a strange bell we've been ringing / Like rock n roll on a church organ."

You can feel it everywhere on the album and you can see it on the album cover too, with the sunlight, the shadow, the eyes closed and the hand reaching out -- it's somewhere between an awakening, a resurrection and a last goodbye all at once, shot at that special half-there time of day that could be sunrise as easily as sunset. It's a moment when possibility is endless, and when the past and the future and the hard times and good times find a perfect instant of sublime balance. Chamber Girls started as an ode to those who stay at home, Dane says, but you know how it goes: you can't love your home if you don't ever leave your home, and part of Chamber Girls is that mythic trip between the unknown and the known. In that very first second before he started this album, Dane was standing in the wreckage of everything he'd had planned for so long -- but then he stepped through that studio door and made the record anyway. And in a way, Chamber Girls is the story of that step.
Special Guest Zella Day
Special Guest Zella Day
A dusky-voiced 22-year-old singer/songwriter from deep in the mountains of Arizona, Zella Day makes electro- charged, guitar-driven indie-pop that’s steeped in a magic of her own invention.

After teaching herself to play guitar at a young age and writing her first batch of songs in her teens, Zella began honing a songwriting style rooted in real-life stories but shaped by her infatuation with everything from desert mystique and old spaghetti westerns to the psychedelic culture of ‘60s California. Lacing her lyrical storytelling with sunlit melodies and heavy beats, the L.A.-based artist delivered her full-length debut with KICKER—an intimate but gorgeously expansive album. Zella explains, “The music’s spiritual resonance is clearly influenced by the Northern Arizona mountains that sheltered my creative energy from any outside implications of city mentality. The creatures I encountered while exploring the depths of my mind and the small town full of secrets all hold great importance to the characterization of this record. One of the most important characters that embody this story is KICKER.

“I was a young girl beginning to understand what my existence meant to the world around me, and KICKER was the ranch horseman that was coloring my imagination with the legends of his native culture. I look back now with a realization of how perfect the timing was when he came in to my life; little did I know I was being presented with a divine guidance that led me deeper into the interworking of my creative visions that contribute to my artistry today. The name of my album is in honor of the person who ignited a flame in my dream realm.”

Revealing her own power to bend reality into something much more enchanted, KICKER arrives with Zella having already racked up nine #1 Hype Machine singles and drawn raves from the likes of Interview, Vice, Nylon, and Soma, who note that “There is an incandescent quality that Zella Day possesses… it resonates throughout her songs with flawless grace.”

In bringing the album to life, Zella worked closely with her longtime collaborators Wally Gagel and Xandy Barry (a production/songwriting duo known for their work with Best Coast) to weave in lush yet hard-hitting electronic elements that deliver a dreamy intensity —as well as the stunning string arrangements that Zellarecorded with an orchestra at the legendary Capitol Studios. Featuring lead single “Hypnotic” (a brash but breezy track that hit #1 on the Alt Nation Alt 18 Countdown at the start of 2015), KICKER matches that richness of texture with an emotional intricacy that makes each song instantly captivating. Throughout KICKER, Zella uses her songs to explore toxic relationships and breakups and broken homes, love and lust and fascination of all kinds. Thanks to her poetic sense of imagery, magnetic vocal presence, and otherworldly sound, the album blurs truth and fiction, dark and light, beauty and pain.

With its title referencing the old Arizona mining town where her parents married, the gloriously pain-drenched album-opener “Jerome” offers an imagined portrait of the coal miner’s wife who became Zella’s namesake (“It’s about the ghost of Zella and my idea of what her life was like,” she explains. “I think of her as a girl getting married off by her family and going crazy in the cage that was now her life”). Built on a mesmerizing arrangement of strings, trumpet, piano, and infectious beats, “The Outlaw Josey Wales” gives a nod to Clint Eastwood’s 1976 Western of the same name. And in its wistful vocal work and lilting melody, “1965” achieves a different kind of time-warping as Zella sings of longing to live in a more charmed time.

Elsewhere on KICKER, Zella touches on the trouble that comes with growing up and getting older, with the fierce and chilling “Sweet Ophelia” taking a bravely nuanced look at loss of virginity and “Mustang Kids” (a synth-soaked hip-hop-tinged track featuring Florida-bred rapper Baby E) giving a gritty glimpse at “what it’s like to be a bored kid in a small town with nowhere to go and nothing to do,” as Zella notes. On the bittersweet and breathtaking “High,” she reflects on a toxic relationship where the only connection comes from indulging in self-destructive behavior (sample lyric: “As long as we keep getting high/Keep burning like we’re never gonna die”). Also proving herself skilled in laying down a gut-punching love song, Zella channels her raw emotional energy into tracks like “Jameson,” a stripped-down and soulful number that illuminates the heartbreak of loving someone in the depths of despair. And in naming her favorite song on KICKER, Zella chooses the hushed and lovely piano ballad “Compass,” a serenade to her tiny hometown of Pinetop, Arizona. “When I was living in Pinetop, all I wanted was to get out,” she says. “But now that I can look back on where I came from, I realize more than ever how much that place is a part of me.”

At age 14, shortly after getting her start playing music at a nearby coffeehouse owned by her grandmother, Zella recorded an album of her own material. With buzz building after the album’s release, she then began making frequent trips to Nashville to join in songwriting sessions with musicians like John Paul White from the Civil Wars. But while working in Nashville went a long way in sharpening her songwriting craft, Zella envisioned her music taking on an edgy sonic atmosphere that departed from the Nashville aesthetic. Soon enough, she landed a deal with LA tastemaker label B3SCI, who released Zella’s debut self-titled EP on limited edition vinyl last fall. From there, she created her imprint Pinetop Records in partnership with Hollywood Records, and set to work on creating the ethereal and electronic-enhanced sound that makes KICKER so dynamic.
Calvin Love
Calvin Love
Only once in every blue moon comes an artist that seems so familiar yet out of space as Calvin Love. Like a stranded space captain locked in his cockpit recording his final thoughts. The young charmer arrives an enigma, a strutting, crooning contradiction: as menacing as he is magnetic, blending obsession with the beauty of artifice and the inner systems of real and natural things. It’s this infallible match of the authentic to the inventive that make Calvin Love’s work so strange and inviting.
Venue Information:
Moroccan Lounge
901 E 1st St
Los Angeles, CA, 90012